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Archive for the ‘outdoors’ Category

Video: Places LA: The Getty Villa – 4 short scenes

October 13th, 2013 Comments off

During yesterday’s visit to The Getty Villa (my first since its major remodel), I shot these 4 short scenes to post to YouTube. A longer montage video will be coming, as well as over 40 photos of our trip.

Getty villa


Panorama: On the flanks of Etna – 2 years ago

August 8th, 2013 Comments off

Memories of our 2011 trip to Sicily to visit my wife’s family. Our 3 week trip included a day at this historic house on the flanks of Etna within the boundaries of the Parco dell’Etna – the National Park that encompasses the entire mountain.

Click for larger images

100+ year old house pano with family

Etna lava flow panorama

Etna lava flow panorama

"Everything but the gate" Panorama

Etna lava flow panorama

Video: The Great Falls at Tinkers Creek, Bedford, Ohio (Instagram)

July 12th, 2013 Comments off

A short Instagram video of The Great Falls at Tinkers Creek in Bedford, Ohio.

Here are a series of photos of the Falls, too.

Viaduct Park, Bedford, Ohio - The Great Falls at Tinkers Creek

View the entire photo set on my Flickr Photostream

Video: Places Ohio: Chagrin Falls (HD)

July 11th, 2013 Comments off

A view of Chagrin Falls in Ohio.

Photos of the Falls can be found on my Flickr Photostream.


Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Categories: outdoors, Podcast, Travel, Video Tags:

Summer Solstice 2013 has arrived!

June 20th, 2013 Comments off

I almost let it slip by without notice, but the Summer Solstice occurs tomorrow morning, June 21 at 5:04 UTC. The solstice is just one of those ways of marking the passing seasons and the passing years. In the past, there was much importance ascribed to the day and celebrations were commonplace. A couple of years ago, we were even lucky enough to be at Stonehenge in Salisbury, UK on the solstice. We didn’t great the sunrise with the other thousands of people, but visited later in the day with far fewer, and far less rowdy, people. (SMILE)


Here is a “long picture” video from our visit.

So what is the Summer Solstice? You can start your exploration with this Wikipedia article.

Summer Solstice

“The summer solstice occurs when the tilt of a planet’s semi-axis, in either the northern or the southern hemisphere, is most inclined toward the star (sun) that it orbits. Earth’s maximum axial tilt toward the sun is 23° 26′. This happens twice each year, at which times the sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or the south pole.

The summer solstice occurs during a hemisphere’s summer. This is northern solstice in the northern hemisphere and the southern solstice in the southern hemisphere. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice occurs some time between December 20 and December 23 each year in the southern hemisphere[2] and between June 20 and June 22 in the northern hemisphere[3] in reference to UTC.[4]

Though the summer solstice is an instant in time, the term is also colloquially used like midsummer to refer to the day on which it occurs. The summer solstice occurs on the day that has the longest period of daylight – except in the polar regions, where daylight is continuous, from a few days to six months around the summer solstice.

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied among cultures, but most recognize the event in some way with holidays, festivals, and rituals around that time with themes of religion or fertility.[5]
Solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).”

I often touch on the Summer Solstice in my writing. Here are a few links from my other blogs.


Categories: Education, Event, Garden, History, outdoors, Science, Video Tags:

Angeles National Forest Free Day Tomorrow – June 8, 2013

June 7th, 2013 Comments off

Ngod logoThe Angeles National Forest is FREE to all tomorrow, June 8, 2013 with no Adventure Pass purchase required as part of National Get Outdoors Day.

Normally an Adventure Pass is required to parking at numerous sites throughout the Forest, but these fees are waived several times per year in all the National Forests.

Mt. Wilson - Angeles National Forest - Burn and new life

View from Mount Wilson, 2010


Video: Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis santacruzae) on Santa Cruz Island, California

June 5th, 2013 Comments off

Here is 6+ minutes of silent footage of the Channel Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis santacruzae) taken June 1, 2013 on Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park. This trip was organized by the Friends of the Island Fox, a non-profit group dedicated to preserving the Island Fox and helping it recover from near extinction.

The footage show island foxes exhibiting natural behaviors at the Prisoner’s Harbor landing area on Santa Cruz Island.

On June 1, 2013, we joined the Friends of the Island Fox for a trip to Santa Cruz Island, part of Channel Islands National Park. After a 1.5 hour boat ride to Prisoner’s Harbor, we hiked about, inspected the newly restored wetlands, saw the Channel Island Scrub Jay, island specific flora and, of course, the Channel Island Fox, an endangered species that only lives on the Channel Islands of California.

See 200+ photos of our trip to Santa Cruz Island and many of the Island Fox

Trip to Santa Cruz Island with Friends of the Island Fox - 157

About Island Fox from the Friends of the Island Fox web site…

“The island fox (Urocyon littoralis) is very small in size, comparable to a small domestic house cat. It is 15-18% smaller than its ancestor, and closest relative, the gray fox (Urocyon cineroargenteus). Island fox size: Adults typically 12-13 inches high at the shoulder, 23-27 inches long from nose to tail tip, weigh 3-6 lbs

Males are slightly larger than females. Coloration is similar to the gray fox: grizzled gray along the top of the head and back, but with a greater amount of rufous or cinnamon coloring along the belly, neck and legs, and white along the cheeks and throat to the chest. The tail also has a darker black stripe along the top.”


The island fox shares the Urocyon genus with the mainland gray fox, the species from which it is descended. Its small size is a result of insular dwarfism, a form of allopatric speciation. Because the island fox is geographically isolated, it has no immunity to parasites and diseases brought in from the mainland and is especially vulnerable to those the domestic dog may carry. In addition, predation by the golden eagle and human activities devastated fox numbers on several of the Channel Islands in the 1990s. Four island fox subspecies were federally protected as an endangered species in 2004, and efforts to rebuild fox populations and restore the ecosystems of the Channel Islands are being undertaken. Radio collars are being attached to foxes in an effort to track and locate the young foxes. To date these efforts have been largely successful.

There are six subspecies of the island fox,[1] each of which is native to a specific Channel Island, and which evolved there independently of the others. The subspecies are:[1]

  • Urocyon littoralis littoralis of San Miguel Island,
  • Urocyon littoralis santarosae of Santa Rosa Island,
  • Urocyon littoralis santacruzae of Santa Cruz Island,
  • Urocyon littoralis dickeyi of San Nicolas Island,
  • Urocyon littoralis catalinae of Santa Catalina and,
  • Urocyon littoralis clementae of San Clemente Island.

Foxes from each island are capable of interbreeding, but have genetic and phenotypic distinctions that make them unique; for example, the subspecies have differing numbers of tail vertebrae.

The small size of the island fox is an adaptation to the limited resources available in the island environment. The foxes are believed to have “rafted” to the northern islands between 10,400 and 16,000 years ago.[3] Initially, fox populations were located on the three northern islands, which were likely easier to access during the last ice age—when lowered sea levels united four of the northernmost islands into a single mega-island (Santa Rosae) and the distance between the islands and the mainland was reduced—it is likely that Native Americans brought the foxes to the southern islands of the archipelago, perhaps as pets or hunting dogs.[4]“



Photo: 3 Panoramas from Santa Cruz Island, California

June 4th, 2013 Comments off

Here are 3 panoramic pictures I shot during our recent visit to Santa Cruz Island, part of Channel Island National Park. These were created using 360 Panorama iPhone app and then cropped lightly to remove the rough edges.

Click each photo to see the large version.

Watch a video from our trip to Santa Cruz Island

View 200+ photos from our trip to Santa Cruz Island

Categories: Event, LA, Los Angeles, outdoors, photo, Photos, Places LA Tags:

Spend the Summer with the Independent Shakespeare Company in Griffith Park

June 4th, 2013 Comments off

We have been enjoying the free Shakespeare in Griffith Park by The Independent Shakespeare Company  for several years now. We have seen The Winter’s Tale, The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing. The Independent Shakespeare Company always puts on an excellent and entertaining show, especially on lovely Summer nights under the star (and often with the coyotes calling from the surrounding hills.)

This Summer brings 3 shows in repertory, 2 Shakespeare and 1 from the same period. The Season starts with She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Godlsmith. Then the darkness rolls in with the Scottish Play, Macbeth and then joined 1 month later with As You Like It with its famous lines,

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”

Why not join us in seeing these shows this Summer? No tickets (or money) required (although tips are gratefully accepted to fund the company). Bring your chairs and your dinner. Come early and enjoy the sunset and a great show. I know we’ll be there.

2013 Productions

She Stoops to Conquer (by Oliver Goldsmith) opens June 27

Mr. Marlowe is a catch. Handsome. Rich. Witty. There’s only one problem: among the ladies in his circle he stammers, stumbles and can’t look them in the eye. In the company of a barmaid or a serving-woman, however, he’s a smooth operator. What’s a guy like that to do when he’s called upon to woo the lovely, fashionable, and most decidedly upper-class Kate Hardcastle? And how will the clever Kate respond?

This 18th-century comedy has it all. Romance, mistaken identity, a thrilling chase scene, and a love song to liquor. It’s a big-hearted, exhuberant romp and the perfect way to spend a summer evening in the park.

Macbeth opens July 5

Macbeth, a great warrior, lives in an era of violence. He is beloved by his King and respected by his friends. But when he has an otherworldly encounter, he is seduced by a vision of power. As he and his wife give in to their deepest yearnings, they make a chilling discovery: once opened, the gates of hell are very hard to close.

Quite a bit of blood completes Shakespeare’s tale of inappropriate desire and dire consequences. It may not be appropriate for young children.

As You Like It opens August 1

What would you do if you could break all the rules?

One of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies tells the story of a kingdom in disorder. Its rightful leader is banished, a young man is denied his due by his malevolent elder brother, and a woman is exiled from the place that has always been her home. All of their paths lead away from the “painted pomp” of the court into the heart of the forest of Arden. It’s a place where natural laws outweigh the laws of man and the force of love reigns supreme. As bitter winter passes into the bloom of spring, the residents of Arden discover that transformation is always possible, and sometimes the disguises we wear are the best way to discover who we are.

Link: Independent Shakespeare Company

Video: 2 Short Videos from Santa Cruz Island

June 3rd, 2013 Comments off

Here are two more short, iPhone videos I shot on our Trip to Santa Cruz Island last Saturday. For a montage from this trip and 200+ photos, visit Places LA: Video: A Trip to Santa Cruz Island with Friends of the Island Fox and Photos: Trip to Santa Cruz Island with Friends of the Island Fox.

Categories: California, Event, LA, Los Angeles, outdoors, Video Tags: